GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4/AP) – The man charged with sexually assaulting and killing a family attorney in Lakewood appeared in court Tuesday morning.

A cleaning crew found Claudia Miller’s body in a storage room in her office building on March 5. Warren Watson, 52, also faces charges of aggravated robbery, identity theft, aggravated motor vehicle theft, evidence tampering and escape.

Watson walked into the courtroom with shackles around his wrists and ankles. His head hung low and he sat quietly next to his public defenders.

Watson had an appointment to meet Miller for the first time the day her body was discovered, the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office said. Watson arrived late, however, and showed up after Miller’s secretary had left for the day, prosecutors said.

He admitted to detectives that he threatened Miller with a fake gun, tied her up, strangled her and fondled her, according to the indictment. A forensic pathologist determined the primary cause of Miller’s death was strangulation, the indictment said.

Shortly after Miller’s death, Lakewood police released surveillance video images that they said showed a man using her credit cards at two stores. A woman who recognized the man as Watson called police and said she had stayed with him at a Denver hotel, according to the indictment.

Claudia Miller (credit: Miller Family)

Claudia Miller (credit: Miller Family)

At the time, Watson was on parole and was prohibited from staying anywhere other than his home at Second Chance Ministries in Denver without authorization, the indictment said. He also was not allowed to leave the state, the indictment said.

Watson was arrested March 8 in Caldwell, Idaho, on a parole violation.

By then, investigators tracking Miller’s phone had found it in a trash bin in an alley inside a trash bag that also contained Miller’s purse and her ID, the indictment said. Surveillance video showed Watson putting a trash bag in the bin, the indictment said.

A murder conviction such as Watson faces can lead to the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

Watson is due back in court next Monday morning.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.) 


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